[quote=cajun-catholic]How do we as Catholics justify the killing of women and children in the old testament? This issue is one I often struggle with.
I know this is the old testament, but it’s still our God whom I love very much. Was this for the greater good?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
In the period in question, what counted was not individual human rights and dignity - both of these are very late ideas - but the solidarity of the group.
Achan broke the ban on taking anything from Jericho - he and his whole family died (Joshua 7).
Saul was commanded to slaughter every single Amalekite (1 Samuel 15) - so it was a sin not to do so.
There is a further problem here: the notion of sin. We associate it with ethics: but it was not always so regarded: any offence against a deity, even when unintentional, and even when not concerned with ethics at all (as we might see matters) was a sin: even if the thing commanded was unethical. So when Saul failed to exterminate Amalek, that was a sin. Samuel did not praise for him for mercy to Agag king of Amalek, but killed Agag himself.
We are still a long way from Micah 6, with its:
Mic 6:6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Mic 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
Mic 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" ##